Administrators for various seminaries have expressed concern over authorities’ requests that seminaries in the city remain closed on Defence Day, calling it a violation of their basic rights.
Though there has not been any police directive in this regard, administrators have said that local police officials have asked them to keep seminaries closed for three to four days around September 6.
“We have been told by several madaris that the police are asking them to give leave to all students before September 5 and remain closed until September 8,” Wafaq-ul-Madaris al-Arabia spokesperson Abdul Qudus Mohammadi, said.
Wafaq-ul-Madaris al-Arabia is the board for seminaries belonging to the Deobandi school of thought.
Though he refused to name the seminaries that have received such directives, Mohammadi said that they were situated in Rawalpindi as well as the federal capital.
Senior clerics from the board Maulana Saleemullah Khan, Maulana Dr. Abdul Razzaq Sikander, and Maulana Hanif Jhalandhari, have issued a joint statement on the matter.
The statement said that religious seminaries are not only the symbol of the country’s Islamic ideology but also its unity and defence, and that their loyalty to the country should not be made questionable.
Mohammadi said that certain elements in the government have repeatedly asked the authorities to shut down seminaries on national occasions.
“The credibility of those suggesting that religious seminaries pose a threat on national occasions should be checked before any such move is implemented,” he said, adding, “The authorities need to understand that madaris are educational institutions and such forced closures have serious implications on studies.”
Some of the city’s seminaries, including Jamia Fareedia, were closed on Pakistan Day (March 23), and on Independence Day (August 14).